Sunday, December 13, 2015

Merry Kitzmas!

I know, not a very original title.  Since Judge Jones' Finding of Fact and Decision Ruling in the Dover Trial was released on 20 Dec 2005, every year one or more websites have used it.  But it certainly fits.  It's been a decade and while this year has been pull of many articles and posts about Dover, it has also been a decade of spin by the Discovery Institute.  I've written about it before, for example: "Does Judge Jones Misunderstand his Critics?"  One of the common points is that since the trial ended and even before the decision was released, the DI has been trying to mitigate the impacts on the Intelligent Design Movement.

It's been a busy month between work and getting ready for the holidays, but I had some time this weekend and hit the DI's Evolution 'News' and Views website (E'N'V).  While they commonly refer to it as a blog, I disagree.  They refuse to allow comments, so I don't consider it a blog.  I also don't consider it a news site, more in the vein of Fox 'Pseudo-news' than anything smattering in actual news.

Today's visit started with something new:

With their belief sets, shouldn't they be asking for help from a different direction?  I have several groups I donate too, but under no circumstances will I consider donating to them.  While I do derive considerable entertainment, I wouldn't consider it any type of investment, like I do MS, Parkinson's, Special Olympics, Vietnam Vets, and my local NPR station.  I feel those groups make positive things happen with my money.

But it does bring something new to mind.  If Intelligent Design hasn't been impacted by Kitzmiller v. Dover et al . . . why are they soliciting for donations?  Aren't their regular donors enough?  Or are some getting a bit disillusioned with the DI's lack of scientific progress?  Just curious?

I bet the opening paragraph about the DI from Wikipedia really must irritate the hell out of them:
"The Discovery Institute (DI) is a non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, best known for its advocacy of the pseudoscience "intelligent design" (ID). Its "Teach the Controversy" campaign aims to teach creationist anti-evolution beliefs in United States public high school science courses alongside accepted scientific theories, positing that a scientific controversy exists over these subjects (Wikipedia:  Discovery Institute)"
Well enough about that. let's close that pop-up and see what's going on.  I wonder how the DI is celebrating Kitzmas.  Ah, they are 'celebrating' by trying to  . . . again . . . spin the impacts of the Kitzmiller decision.  They started a series of posts about what they are calling '10 Myths about Dover'.  So far they are counting them down and have posted 10 through 8:
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on their spin because they aren't saying anything new.  They are re-hashing old spins.  I will say a few words about these three:
  • Did anyone say the Intelligent Design Movement was dead after Dover?  No, I don't recall anyone saying that.  What I do recall is people saying the support for ID and the political marketing campaign took a serious blow.  Hasn't that been true?  How many public schools have ID on the science curriculum on par with Evolution?  They tried in many places and so far, haven't been very successful.  How many of their 5-year goals have they achieved?  How about none!  And that's not 5-year goals based on the Dover Decision, but 5-year goals set from the founding of the DI's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture . . . which I believe was 1996.  So in reality after 19 years, they haven't achieved any of their 5 year goals, let alone put a dent in their 20 year goals. 
  • Did ID have it's day in court?  Most certainly.  ID proponents not only testified during the Dover Trial, but their testimony was designed to establish ID's scientific basis.   Based on the results . . . well in the words of Judge Jones:
    "In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents"(Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (December 20, 2005). Curriculum, Conclusion, p. 136.)
  • Did [ID Proponent] Michael Behe actually say ID was no more scientific than Astrology?  No, he didn't use those exact words, but he wanted a broader definition of science.  The conclusion was that his broader definition would encompass many things including supernatural causation.  When you look at his comments in context, you can see that.  Of course the DI prefers to change the context to suit themselves.  I suggest you read the Dover Trial Transcripts yourself, here is a link to that part of Behe's testimony.  I think it reads very different than the DI's latest spin on it.
What I also find rather funny is that Behe and the other ID proponents tried to present the case that ID is science.  When Judge Jones ruled that it wasn't, one of the more common whines was that Judge Jones didn't have the authority to make such a judgement.  If he didn't have the authority, why present such a case?  Imagine the opposite, suppose Judge Jones had ruled that ID was science, can you imagine the hue and cry if anyone in opposition to ID suggested that Judge Jones overstepped his authority?  Unfortunately, I can imagine it . . . but good sense and the law prevailed.  ID = Creationism and therefore doesn't belong in science class.

I'll probably keep an eye on the next few and see it they try and present anything new.  I doubt it.  Which is mildly surprising.  I mean they've had a decade to hone their arguments and all we seem to get in the same old thing.

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